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Personal Stories

My Life with Learning Disabilities

By: Lauren

I was in Eighth Grade, I had a good school, great teachers and amazing friends but something was missing. I tried hard in school, but for some reason I wasn’t making it. I wasn’t getting the grades I thought I should have had, and I wasn’t getting what most of the others around me did. I was confused and disoriented, but thought nothing of it. Although my mother did, who is a teacher that worked with learning disabled children at the time. Although I never admitted that I was having trouble, nor did I believe I really was, my mom knew that something just wasn’t right with me, she knew this for she was surrounded all day by kids with the same problems.

She noticed it in me, and studied it, then finally she came to me and told me her thoughts. I was furious, furious to think my mother even thought there was something wrong with me, I thought she thought I was stupid, and couldn’t do anything on my own. I didn’t want to believe or even think that I could have a problem, I thought it was normal to have the problems I was facing and I ignored it. But my Mom insisted that I have testing done, just to see if there was something. So I finally gave in, hoping to prove to her that she was being foolish and that I was fine.

Well those tests ruined my life, they weren’t what I expected and they weren’t what I wanted to believe. I had this stereotype that people with learning disabilities were stupid and couldn’t be educated. I wasn’t about to admit to myself that I had one. My mom tried so hard for me to understand, that having a learning disability is okay, and that it doesn’t mean you're stupid, that it just means you learn differently than others and that there was nothing wrong with that, as long as I got the help I needed to help correct it. But that just wasn’t good enough for me. I was depressed and distraught about everything, I felt so let down from my mother and from everyone including myself. I felt like I was being babied and watched over constantly, and everything just became to cave in for me. But there was something I didn’t realize for a long time and it was until then that I understood.

It was high school, when I entered high school I was scared, scared of my classes, scared of all the new people, and just the overall atmosphere but I learned something about those classes, about those people, and about that atmosphere, that I wasn’t the only one. The experience of meeting people with the same kind of problems gave me more confidence and a greater understanding. I found out how much better I had it than some. Even people I knew for years but never knew they had one.

Things were starting to come together, I was seeing people around me deal with it daily, and by the end of the day defeat it like champions. These people were smart, these people were confident, these people were amazing, and these people were teenagers just like me. After really seeing that, my mind and eyes opened up to a greater understanding. I felt so bad for thinking that a person with a learning disability was stupid or incompetent, because they weren't, they weren’t at all and I wasn’t either. As hard as it was for me I accepted it, and I finally gave up the fight and gave in and got the attention and help I needed.

I won't lie I didn’t like it, but as much as I didn’t like it, it helped and I started to improve. I felt a lot better about myself and a lot better about school. I wasn’t as frustrated and annoyed anymore because I had found a way to do it and do it correctly, and it made school actually start to make sense. My Mom had tried to tell me these things all along, but I didn’t want to believe her, and she didn’t do this to me because she thought I was stupid, she did it because she cares, and she wanted me to do well and to understand school and not have it be some horrible struggle. I never noticed that, I thought she had lost all faith in me when all along she had more than I ever did.

Now as a junior in high school I am not afraid to say that I have a learning disability because I know I am smart, and like my mom always said I just learn differently and that’s what I now believe make all of us with learning disabilities beautiful and unique.

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